PHOENIX -- The New England Patriots had never traded a first-round draft choice away for a player on another team’s roster until they shipped the No. 32 overall selection to the New Orleans Saints for wide receiver Brandin Cooks earlier this month.
That reflects how strongly the Patriots feel about Cooks, with owner Robert Kraft taking it up to a higher level on Monday at the NFL’s annual meeting.
“Since I’ve owned the team, the only player that could make an impact like that at wide receiver was Randy Moss. He doesn’t have his height, but it looks like he has his speed,” Kraft said. “I think that’s complementary to what we have on the team, and I’m excited about enjoying this.”
Mentioning Cooks (5-foot-10, 189 pounds) in the same sentence as Moss (6-foot-4, 210) was arguably the most notable thing that Kraft said in his 16-minute Q&A session with reporters.
One of most interesting takeaways from Robert Kraft's Q&A was comparing acquisition of Brandin Cooks to Randy Moss. pic.twitter.com/RX2aPhjcmk— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) March 27, 2017
Those who watched joint practices between the Patriots and Saints each of the last two years saw firsthand how explosive Cooks can be. Since Cooks entered the NFL as a first-round draft choice of the Saints in 2014, his production has been hard to miss: 215 catches for 2,861 yards (13.3 average) with 20 touchdowns.
When Moss came aboard in 2007, the offensive fireworks came quickly.
Kraft and the Patriots are hoping 2017 will be déjà vu with Cooks.